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NRS Founder Bill Parks

Bill (William H.) Parks: Educator, Entrepreneur, and Business Professional

Bill H. ParksBill was born July 15, 1934 in South Bend, Indiana, home of the Studebaker Corporation. His grandfather, a sales training executive with Studebaker, spent a lot of time mentoring Bill. Many of the lessons Bill’s grandfather taught Bill in regards to marketing, personnel management, honesty and integrity in business became touchstones when he went into business for himself.

After high school, Bill worked his way through a Ph.D. in Finance and Economics from Michigan State College (later turned Michigan State University). Responsible for his own tuition, he alternated years in school with years working—from a production bakery to the U.S. Army to the Cadillac Division of General Motors in Detroit. Each job and class building his knowledge of business and economics.

Bill began teaching courses in corporate finance, financial institutions and investments at the University of Oregon in Eugene in 1965. But eventually the idea of knowing theory versus applying abstract principles from business theory in the real world challenged Bill to delve into an idea that would become his biggest accomplishment. With a growing interest in whitewater rafting and kayaking and a lacking commercial industry to feed the sport, Bill founded Northwest River Supplies, Inc. in 1972.

After founding NRS with $2000, Bill moved to Moscow, Idaho to join the faculty at the University of Idaho in the College of Business and Economics. He continued to nurture and build the business while teaching fulltime, often hiring students from his classes to inventory, pack and ship products to customers.

In 2012, NRS celebrated its 40th anniversary, and today is a multi-million-dollar company with hundreds of dealers world-wide. It is one of the major manufacturers and distributors of boats, apparel and accessories in the paddlesports industry. Through the years Bill has stayed true to the inspirations he received early in his career from his grandfather and other mentors to “build the kind of company you would like to do business with.” But the success within NRS has also sparked Bill’s interest in tax laws.

Even thirty years ago, Bill had a strong interest in corporate taxation and had written about it while an academic. However, during the great recession information became widely available concerning the multinational enterprises that avoided paying most, if not all, of their taxes in the U.S. It seemed grossly unfair that MNEs could avoid taxes while domestic companies could not. A domestic company paying close to the rack rate could be competing with a MNE that paid little or no corporate tax. After reading, “Reforming Corporate Taxation in a Global Economy: A Proposal to Adopt Formulary Apportionment,” by Kimberly Clausing and Reuven Avi-Yonah, Bill has devoted substantial time and resources to bringing this superior taxation method to the attention of the public and Congress.

Bill retired from teaching and now devotes his time to NRS (now 100% employee owned), advocating for the paddlesports industry, sharing his insights on business and finance, both academic and practical, and most recently, fighting for tax equality between domestic companies and MNEs. More information regarding Bill’s tax solutions, including literature written by him and other colleagues, can be found on the website salesfactor.org.